I’m getting ready to leave on a press/media trip to Hutchinson, Kansas; several of the city’s public relations and marketing folks decided that bloggers and wired writers offer a different way to get the word out about their destination.
My travel-related posts will be over on my Family Travel blog and the Perceptive Travel blog, but there’s an online angle here that’s intriguing. Some in Hutchinson have already impressed me with their Web connections – over 1,100 in the WhatsUpHutch.com Facebook group. Go, small town social media!
I don’t know that everyone I’ll encounter will be quite as plugged in, however. Something that I noticed on the China 2.0 Tour was bouncing around in my head this morning, and as I was getting ready to send an email to one of the trip organizers about dealing with wired writers, it occurred to me that I should write a blog post instead.
That’s because someone like me thinks a bit differently than a mostly-print writer. We’d rather write a blog post to reach many than an email to reach only one, and we’d rather do it NOW.
Public. Rapid. Sharing.
That’s why we’re different, and for people who are used to dealing with print writers and journalists, there are a few other things you should know:
- We may be talking about your organization or destination before we even get there. We talk about it on Twitter and on Facebook. Our TripIt widget on our LinkedIn profile says we’re coming your way, and we’re bookmarking Web sites using StumbleUpon or Delicious for some advance research. Can you hear us? Do you have rudimentary Google Alerts set up? Do you know how to search Twitter?
- We’re immediate, or at least pretty darn quick. You’re used to seeing print articles a few weeks to a few months after a journalist visit, but bloggers are different. Many of us are blogging while we’re still hearing briefings or touring attractions. We’re posting videos on YouTube. We’re uploading photos of your destination on Flickr. We might be talking about lunch and dinner on Yelp. We’re uploading photos and comments to our Facebook page. Constantly.
- Where are you on the Web? Does your organization have a blog? A Flickr pool? A video channel? Are you on Twitter? Where’s your Facebook page or group? Not to be dismissive of people’s efforts, but you’re not knocking anyone’s socks off these days simply by having a Web site. A Web site is a given, like a phone number. Please tell us where you are – if we like your stuff, we’ll be linking to it and talking about it. Do you see our links coming in? Come on over and comment on whatever we’ve posted.
- Everything is on the record and recorded unless you say otherwise, right up front. Our style with speakers is a little different – for presenters or PR folks who aren’t used to geeks, it’s like a digital Normandy invasion. We all arrive in some conference/briefing room and swing into action. We’re crawling under tables looking for electrical outlets to plug in our stuff, we’re opening laptops, we’re aligning our Web cams to live-stream your presentation to the Web as it happens, we’re firing up to live-tweet on Twitter using our iPhone, we’re holding up our Flip video cameras to start shooting, we’re snapping photos and uploading them right then. You’re ON, not only to the bloggers, but to everyone outside the walls who is in the blogger’s many networks (and questions will come in via Twitter and video chat boxes from those who are watching and listening outside the conference room.) Don’t be alarmed. You want reach, you got reach!
For organizations who are used to a lot of “control” and one-way broadcast of their message, it’s a bit disconcerting to look at people who all seem to have data streams coming out of their bodies, going who knows where.
In my experience, wired writers and bloggers are generally a pretty sharing, friendly group although our communications techniques may be different than what you’re used to. We’re big on authenticity and transparency, and we talk about things that we like.
Be the one we talk about. Be ready to engage.